How to Stain a Wood Deck

Wood decks are easier and cheaper to build but harder to maintain in the long term as wood is very susceptible to the forces of nature. Even if a little bit of water enters the wood through its pores would cause it to crack and warp. This would require you to change your warped tiling once every few months or years. Staining a wooden deck is one of the preventive measures that you could take to prevent your deck from warping or cracking is to stain your wooden deck. It would protect your decking against ultraviolet sun damage and moisture damage. Stains would help to keep water from soaking into the wood decking. If the wood is already cracked then the stains would help prevent any water from penetrating into the decking and causing the cracks to enlarge.

It is recommended that you use a high-quality water-based stain rather than one that creates a film on top of your deck tiles. The best kind of stain is the kind that penetrates through the pores of the wood and does not create a film on top as these types of stains would peel over time. To achieve that consistent look and not have to worry about your decking peeling off. If there is already some film forming stain then you would need to peel it off, which is very hard work. Take your time and find a stain that is a penetrating stain, even though it might be a little more expensive even then it pays off in the long term as penetrating stains do not come off easily.


Read more: Pressure Washer Buying Guide


Best time to Stain a Deck

The best way to decide when you want to stain your deck is to refer to the label on whatever stain you will use for guidance. In all cases, the label would state the ideal temperature range from when the stain should be applied. Match your local weather conditions with the midpoint of the range as applying at a temperature too high or too low may cause problems.


When to Stain your deck for the first time

The best way is to stain your deck as soon as it is built. This applies especially to cedar, redwood, exotic hardwoods and clear pressure-treated decks as soon as the deck is built. You may find it much easier to apply a thin maintenance coat of stain every spring. It is recommended to check the label on your stain as some treated lumber that is straight from a treatment plant might be saturated with liquid and the stain would not penetrate as deep as it should.


How to Properly Stain a Deck

Materials Needed:

You will need these materials to complete your deck staining project.

  • One or more 5 Gallon buckets of cleaning solution

  • Certified organic oxygen bleach (Note: 2lbs cleans 400 square feet so plan ahead for how much you will need)

  • Deck Stain - Make sure it is the same color and batch for a consistent coat.

  • Different scrub brushes and an adjustable painter's pole.

  • A garden hose that stretches out over the entire deck

  • Ladders for any high-up work

  • Assorted paint brushes - 2-Inch tapered works well for railings and cut-out work

  • Paint roller pan, roller, and roller covers.

  • Heavy canvas drop cloths.

  • Rubber gloves, eye protection, and any other safety equipment

  • Old Clothes.

How to Choose the Best Brushes and Roller Covers to Stain a Deck

It is recommended to use high-quality brushes and roller covers as they produce better results and it requires much less work on your part to apply the stain properly.


It depends from surface to surface on what type of tool to use, for example, a 2-inch tapered brush works well for railings however for decking boards a 3-inch brush is recommended a 4-inch brush is not recommended however as it can be too hard to handle.


Prepping and Cleaning Deck Before Staining

Always make sure the deck is clean and dry before you begin staining. You do not want any dust particles or other debris to be caught in your coat as it could cause the coat to be unsightly but also it will not penetrate into the deck properly. If you choose to use a power washer to wash away the old coat of stain, wait for about 24 hours before you go on to apply the new coat of stain so that your deck is completely dry.

If you intend to use a roller be sure to roll over a piece of scrap wood first as you might be surprised at how rollers might leave some bubbles in the finish. It doesn't take a lot of time and regardless of that, Always better to be safe than sorry.


Applying Deck Stain

Applying deck stains is very easy, as most deck stains have the consistency of water meaning they aren't as thick-bodied as paint would be. However, this also means that they will drip easier and splatter too from going too fast. You would never know, so do not get carried away, and be careful when applying stain.

When you are staining a railing and holding the brush so that the handle points downwards, you might find that the stain could roll over the brush bristles and reach your head which can be messy and also cause a range of skin problems. It is advised however to use a pair of latex gloves, however, you should be able to minimize this by not loading too much stain on the brush.


Create a Plan

What's the first step to any successful project? A plan. Think about how you will be starting the staining process and finishing. How can you work so that you don't get trapped on the deck or work into a corner?

Think of going on board or a strip of decking at a time. Maintaining the wet edge going forwards and backward the entire time. This will become a problem if the outer edge has a railing and you will end up getting to be squished into a corner. Maybe you could consider painting the railings first and then staining them to a corner where it would be easier for you without being in an uncomfortable position.


Step 1 : Mix Wood stain with a stir stick

Make sure to mix your stain properly before using it so that its consistency is equal and there are no solid parts that might have formed due to it sitting on a shelf for a while.


Step 2: Pour the stain into a paint tray

Pour your stain from the can into a paint tray so that you can easily dip your brushes or rollers for application.


Step 3: Use a long-handled car wash push brush to apply stain

It is recommended to apply the stain to a properly cleaned and dry surface with temperatures that are under 26 degrees Celsius. Using a push brush would ensure that the stain is applied to the wooden surface evenly. However time-consuming this may be; this will freshen up your wooden deck. It is recommended to stain your deck every spring so that it stays fresh. Maintaining wooden decks takes a lot of work although they look and feel great it requires annual investments to keep them fresh and tidy. However other options such as tanzanite stone deck tiles which do cost more than a wooden deck but are much better equipped for all weathers and climates.

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